This post is by Jesse Galef
Everyone seemed to like Neil deGrasse Tyson. Good, it shows you have good taste. For your Friday afternoon viewing pleasure, here’s another great clip of him, this time explaining how absurd it is to claim that the universe was designed for life, let alone human life: (rough transcript by me)
I want to do a fast tirade on stupid design. Look at all the things that just want to kill us…
Most places in the universe will kill life instantly – instantly! People say that the forces of nature are just right for life. Excuse me? Look at the volume of the universe where you can’t live. You will die instantly. That’s not what I call the garden of Eden.
This is all stupid design. If you look for what it intelligent, yeah you can find things that are really beautiful and clever – like the ball socket of the shoulder – there are a lot of things you can point to. But then you stop looking at all the things that confound that revelation. So if I came across a frozen waterfall and it just struck me for all its beauty, I would then turn over the rock and try to find a millipede or some kind of deadly newt, put that in context, and realize of course that the universe is not here for us – for any singular purpose.
If people want to argue for belief in God based on observation of the world instead of personal revelation, it’s difficult to get around this unpleasant truth – observations don’t imply that the world was made for us. We appear to have formed – poorly, I might add – from other species onto a difficult planet that is constantly trying to kill us in one way or another. We are a tiny speck in a universe that is vastly, mindbogglingly big. (I mean, you might it’s a long commute to work, but that’s just peanuts to space.)
The more we understand the universe, the more we realize just how small a part of it we are. Creation myths in various cultures portray a god or gods creating the Earth specially and giving humans a special place in it. But we have since discovered that our species is simply one of many in the tree of life, the Earth isn’t even the center of our solar system let alone the universe.
The evidence simply does not support the theory of a designer who is both competent and loves us. But where do we go from that knowledge?
[UPDATE] Greta Christina answers that question well on her blog in a post from December. I like her closing:
Being an atheist doesn’t mean that life isn’t important. It means that we get to create our own sense of importance. The human scale is where we live. It’s what we have. And if we decide that that’s the most important scale for us, there’s nobody out there to tell us otherwise.
Precisely. Even though we’re not important to an external entity, we’re still important to each other. So say we all.